By Kai Nielsen (auth.)
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Extra info for An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion
G. logical positivists, so-called 'ordinary language philosophers', and others say are devoid of significance are not devoid of significance. The utterances they say are incomprehensible are not incomprehensible. I t is too bad that they are not right for then there would be nothing to be alarmed about. But the danger of philosophical rubbish is that it is comprehensible and incomprehensibly contagious. Metaphysicians and theologians are generally no harder to understand than poets or novelists.
God's actions', 'God's love', are not like 'a Plymouth talks' or 'Stanfield sleeps faster than Lewis'. They are established bits of ordinary usage; they have a use in the language. a body, he is not pointing to a misuse of terms as in 'sleeps faster' but he is in effect calling to our attention that we do not know what we would have to observe or fail to observe for it to be true or false, or even probably true or false that x was disembodied and x acted lovingly or justly. But Ziff would not accept the verifiability criterion as a test for intelligibility.
Ziff thinks that if anyone were to maintain that such a traditional conception of God is unintelligible, he would argue that these problematic conditions are unintelligible. To say that these conditions are unintelligible is to say we cannot understand them. But in reflecting on this, we must not forget that understanding and hence intelligibility admit rif degrees. We have, Ziffargues, some understanding of these conditions, and hence, though 'God exists' may be mysterious, as it most certainly should be, it still need not be completely unintelligible.
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion by Kai Nielsen (auth.)